Border plans

Old 03-26-2009, 11:35 AM
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Default Border plans

U.S. Plans 1-2 Punch On Drug Cartels
By Richard S. Dunham/The Houston Chronicle
March 25, 2009

Washington - The Obama administration promised Tuesday to spend $700 million to eradicate Mexico’s drug cartels as it released details of a new offensive that would deploy hundreds of agents and intelligence operatives to fight narco-driven violence along the borders of Texas, Arizona and California.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the massive infusion of federal cash and personnel is designed to bring stability to northern Mexico, where drug cartels have killed about 500 law enforcement officials in an ongoing insurgency. Deputy Attorney General David Ogden said the U.S. government actions are part of a coordinated strategy by the American and Mexican governments “to destroy these criminal organizations.”
But the White House remained noncommittal about sending U.S. National Guard troops to patrol the border, as sought by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and a bipartisan group of lawmakers. Napolitano said she would discuss the request with the Republican governor in Texas on Thursday before making a recommendation to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
“The questions for Governor Perry are very logistical,” she said. “Why 1,000? Where did that number come from? Where in Texas? Texas has a huge border with Mexico. And what does he anticipate the Guard doing?”
Responding to the White House plan, Perry said in a prepared statement that “while we appreciate the additional investigative resources, what we really need are more border patrol agents and officers … as well as additional funding for local law enforcement along the border to deny Mexican drug cartels access to the United States.”
The administration’s plan, announced at the White House, responds to mounting pressure from the U.S. public and Congress spurred by fears that drug vio­lence is crossing the border and destabilizing Mexico’s government, said Andrew Selee, a Mexico expert at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.
Money, agents, troops
The new plan expands upon the Merida Initative, a U.S.-Mexico plan negotiated in 2007. Among its key elements, it would:
• Triple the number of intelligence officers working along the U.S. southwest border.
• Double the border enforcement security task forces (known as BEST teams) that combine local, state, federal and Mexican law enforcement officials and intelligence agents.
Spend $30 million in economic stimulus funding to reimburse state and local law enforcement agencies for their anti-drug efforts in the border region.
• Add 16 new Drug Enforcement Administration positions to the 1,000 agents already working in the southwest region.
• Move an additional 100 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives personnel to the border in the next 45 days to combat drug trafficking.
• Buy five helicopters for the Mexican Army and Air Force and a surveillance aircraft for the Mexican Navy.
• Create a “Southwest Intelligence Group” within the FBI to serve as a clearinghouse for all bureau activities inside Mexico.
• Step up Treasury Department efforts targeting the financial networks of Mexican drug traffickers and add new mobile X-ray technology to detect guns being smuggled south to the cartels.
‘It’s a global problem’
Mexican officials responded enthusiastically to the Obama plan.
“This will set the direction for a new era of cooperation between both governments,” Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa said.
The announcement came one day before Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is scheduled to meet with Mexican officials in Monterrey. Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder also plan visit Mexico in the weeks before the president’s scheduled trip next month.
Mexican analysts said that Tuesday’s announcement could be a turning point in U.S.-Mexico relations. “This seems like the first occasion the United States has taken greater responsibility in the drug fight,” said Victor Clark, an expert on narcotics trafficking and violence in Tijuana. “It’s not just Mexico’s problem, it’s a global problem.”
Congressional reaction was largely positive. “I think it’s a great start,” said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble. “The acknowledgment that there is actually a real problem on the border by the administration is a tremendous step in the right direction.”
Said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas: “His plan will lend continued assistance to President Calderon, who is engaged in a crucial struggle against narcoterrorism and deadly drug cartels intent on using brutal violence to gain power.”

While some of this stuff makes sense. I have to wonder why in the world the Fed Gov't doesn't spend more than $30 million out of 800 BILLION to help the states develop long term solutions to a local problem for them.

Doesn't it make infinitely more sense to throw some of the billions we are wasting to CA, TX, AZ, NM and let them create an effective solution. Why does the federal government think they are going to be a better at fixing this than they are a fixing anything else?

Just for some perspective...$30 million is about .004% of the Stimulus money going to repay the states for their efforts. I seem to remember the marsh mouse getting about $300 million.

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